A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by E. A. Ciesla (EdCiesla)
Boudin is a savory sausage appreciated by the Cajuns down in Louisiana. Imagine a spicy Cajun musical dish seasoned with the flavors of Canada's Quebec province and contemporary folk-rock music and you're in for a savory *fete* from Danielle Martineau. Like the Louisiana Acadians, Ms. Martineau combines a little two-step, some blues, older folk tunes, and crackerjack musicianship on a variety of electric and non-electric instruments to produce a buoyant and flavorsome album. (Partial disclaimer: All the songs on this CD are in French. My acquisition of this language stopped after high school but with the aid of a good dictionary I think I got all the nouns correctly translated. Verb forms are something else again. Nonetheless I think I got the gist of the songs.)
The first cut begins with a quick fiddle and what sounds like foot-tapping by the time the drums, bass and distorted electric guitar are going full blast Ms Martineau is supported by a group of back-up singers and youire swept up by the lilting French which seems to be a wry look at doing things on auto-pilot. Ending with the well-intentioned advice to simply turn off out television sets. Imagine Joan Armatrading singing in French and backed by Steeleye Span to get some idea of what this opening track sounds like.
Track two, Zydeco musico, is a wooly-bully-like riff that bounces along behind excellent percussion, piano, bass and fiddle. The aptly titled song is about playing zydeco music to a full house. Track four is a stand-out, a slow waltz Lieau et le vent (valse d hiver). While written by Ms. Martineau this tune sounds as if it had been collected by folklorists among people who had been performing it for quite a while in northern Quebec. It is a sweet song. The instrumentation is more sparse on this tra ck with fiddle, accordion and guitar. There is a Celtic quality to the tune and the tight ensemble playing reminded me of the Canadian group Barde (who use to record on Flying Fish). Ms. Martineau's voice is haunting.
Track six is a hard-working blues riff about equal work and equal pay in the Montreal cotton mills. There is resentment at the harsh conditions the female work force encountered on the job and this is amplified by a searing guitar solo. Another highlight of this CD is track 10 Nouveau government which was written in 1936 by Le Bolduc (aka Mary Travers, 1894-1941, a famous Canadian vaudeville performer noted for her sarcastic lyrics). This song is an encouragement to kick out the old guard. The album ends with a short suite of tunes with played by accordion and guitar. This is a lovely end piece to a fine tour of Cajun and French-flavored music styles.
The compact disc contains twelve tracks as follows:
As previously mentioned the playing throughout is crisp and energetic.
In retrospect, I was expecting more traditional playing when I first played this CD and was somewhat surprised by the electric instruments on the first two tunes. By the time the digital display counted down to the last track I was already planning on getting a copy of Danielle Martinueauis first solo release. This record has made me a *nouveau* Francophile - make that Canadian Francophile. And now you'll have to excuse me because I've got to go out and find a steady supply of this border music: north-of-the-U. S.-border-music. Thanks to Danielle Martineau and her accompanists for introducing this listener to new and exciting music.